Online travel agencies (OTAs) all compete for the attention of travelers looking to compare prices and book flights, hotels, and more. Kayak and Booking.com are two major players in the OTA space. But does one own the other?
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: No, Kayak is not owned by Booking.com. While both operate as OTAs, they are owned by different parent companies.
In this approximately 3000 word article, we’ll cover:
The History and Ownership of Kayak
When it comes to online travel booking, Kayak is a well-known name in the industry. But what is the story behind this popular travel website? Let’s take a look at the history and ownership of Kayak.
When Kayak was founded
Kayak was founded in 2004 by a group of tech-savvy entrepreneurs, including Paul English and Steve Hafner. The idea behind Kayak was to create a platform that would aggregate travel information from various sources and provide users with a comprehensive search engine for flights, hotels, car rentals, and more.
The founders aimed to simplify the travel booking process and help users find the best deals.
With its user-friendly interface and powerful search capabilities, Kayak quickly gained popularity among travelers. The website’s success led to rapid growth, and Kayak soon became one of the leading online travel agencies in the industry.
Acquisition by Priceline Group
In 2012, Kayak caught the attention of the Priceline Group, one of the largest online travel companies in the world. Priceline recognized the potential of Kayak’s technology and the value it could bring to its own portfolio of travel brands, which include Booking.com, Agoda, and Rentalcars.com.
Priceline Group acquired Kayak for approximately $1.8 billion, making it a subsidiary of the company. This acquisition allowed Kayak to tap into Priceline’s extensive resources and global reach, further enhancing its ability to provide users with the best travel deals and options.
Merger into Booking Holdings
In 2018, the Priceline Group underwent a rebranding and changed its name to Booking Holdings. This move was aimed at better aligning the company’s brand with its core business of online travel booking.
As a result of this rebranding, Kayak became a part of Booking Holdings, along with other well-known travel brands such as Booking.com, Agoda, and OpenTable. The merger into Booking Holdings further solidified Kayak’s position in the online travel industry and allowed it to benefit from the synergies and resources of the larger company.
Today, Kayak continues to innovate and improve its platform, providing travelers with a seamless and efficient way to search and book their travel arrangements. Its integration into the Booking Holdings family has allowed it to expand its offerings and provide users with even more options and deals.
For more information about Kayak and its services, you can visit their official website: https://www.kayak.com.
The History and Ownership of Booking.com
Booking.com is one of the world’s leading online travel agencies, but is it owned by Kayak? Let’s delve into the history and ownership of Booking.com to understand its origins and current place within the travel industry.
Launch and early years
Booking.com was launched in 1996 by a small Dutch startup called Bookings BV. The company started as a platform for booking hotel accommodations, initially focusing on the European market. Over the years, Booking.com expanded its services to include other types of accommodations such as apartments, villas, and even unique stays like treehouses and igloos.
During its early years, Booking.com faced fierce competition from various online travel agencies and hotel booking platforms. However, its commitment to providing a user-friendly interface and a vast selection of accommodations helped it gain a substantial market share and establish itself as a trusted brand in the travel industry.
Growth and acquisitions
Booking.com’s success led to its acquisition by Priceline Group, now known as Booking Holdings, in 2005. This acquisition provided Booking.com with the resources and global reach to expand its operations and further dominate the online travel market.
Today, Booking.com operates in more than 220 countries and territories, offering over 28 million listings worldwide.
While Booking.com has made several acquisitions to enhance its services, it is worth noting that Kayak is not one of them. Kayak is a separate online travel agency that was launched in 2004 and has since become popular for its flight and hotel search engine.
Although both Booking.com and Kayak are prominent players in the travel industry, they are owned by different companies.
Current place within Booking Holdings
Booking.com is a subsidiary of Booking Holdings, a company that owns and operates various travel-related brands. Apart from Booking.com, Booking Holdings owns other well-known brands such as Priceline, Agoda, and OpenTable.
Booking.com continues to innovate and adapt to the ever-changing travel landscape. With its extensive range of accommodations and competitive pricing, it remains a top choice for travelers seeking convenient and reliable booking options.
The company’s user-friendly website and mobile app have also contributed to its popularity among travelers worldwide.
How Kayak and Booking.com Work Together
Many travelers wonder about the relationship between Kayak and Booking.com. While they are not owned by the same company, they do have a close partnership that allows them to work together to provide a seamless travel booking experience for their users.
Partnership for Price Comparison
One of the main ways in which Kayak and Booking.com collaborate is through their partnership for price comparison. Kayak is a popular travel search engine that allows users to compare prices from different websites for flights, hotels, and car rentals.
When users search for a specific destination or travel dates on Kayak, it pulls in data from various travel websites, including Booking.com, to provide a comprehensive list of options and prices.
This partnership benefits users by allowing them to easily compare prices and find the best deal for their travel needs. It saves them the time and effort of searching through multiple websites individually, as Kayak does the work for them by aggregating the information in one place.
In addition to price comparison, Kayak and Booking.com also have referral partnerships. When users find a deal they like on Kayak and click on it to make a booking, they are often redirected to the Booking.com website to complete the reservation.
This is because Booking.com is one of the largest online travel agencies and offers a wide range of accommodations worldwide.
By referring users to Booking.com, Kayak ensures that they have access to a vast inventory of hotels and other accommodations. This partnership allows Kayak to provide users with a seamless booking experience, where they can easily find and book their preferred accommodation without having to leave the Kayak platform.
Co-branded Credit Card Programs
Another way in which Kayak and Booking.com collaborate is through co-branded credit card programs. These programs allow users to earn rewards or cash back when they make bookings through Kayak or Booking.com using a specific credit card.
These rewards can be redeemed for future travel expenses or other benefits.
Co-branded credit card programs incentivize users to choose Kayak and Booking.com for their travel bookings by offering additional perks or benefits. This collaboration not only benefits the users but also helps drive customer loyalty for both Kayak and Booking.com.
Comparing Business Models and Services
Both Kayak and Booking.com generate revenue through various sources. Booking.com primarily earns its revenue through commissions. When a customer books a hotel, rental car, or other accommodation through Booking.com, the company receives a commission from the provider.
On the other hand, Kayak generates revenue through advertising and referral fees. When a user clicks on an advertisement or books a travel service through Kayak, the company earns a fee from the advertiser or provider.
Commissions and fees
Booking.com charges commissions to accommodation providers, typically ranging from 10% to 30% of the booking value. These commissions vary depending on factors such as location, property type, and booking volume. Kayak, on the other hand, earns referral fees from its partners.
This means that when a user books a service through Kayak, the company receives a fee from the provider, without directly charging commissions to the accommodation providers. This difference in revenue model allows Kayak to offer additional services to its users without charging them directly.
Key features and offerings
Booking.com is primarily focused on providing a wide range of accommodation options to its users. The platform allows users to search and book hotels, apartments, villas, and other types of accommodations in various destinations worldwide.
It also provides features such as customer reviews, price comparisons, and flexible booking options.
Kayak, on the other hand, offers a comprehensive travel search engine that allows users to compare prices across multiple travel websites. In addition to accommodation, Kayak also provides information and options for flights, rental cars, vacation packages, and more.
The platform offers features like price alerts, recommended itineraries, and travel guides to help users make informed decisions.
While both Kayak and Booking.com offer valuable services to travelers, their business models and offerings differ slightly, catering to different needs and preferences. It is important for users to evaluate their own travel requirements and priorities to choose the platform that best suits their needs.
The Future of OTAs and Competition
The online travel industry has experienced significant growth in recent years, with Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) like Booking.com and Kayak dominating the market. However, as the industry evolves, new players and disruptive technologies are emerging, challenging the status quo and reshaping the future of OTAs and competition.
Emerging competitors and disruption
While Booking.com is a leading OTA, it is important to note that Kayak is not owned by Booking.com. Kayak is its own entity, providing a metasearch engine that allows users to compare prices across various travel websites.
This distinction is crucial as it showcases the increasing competition in the online travel space. With the rise of new entrants like Airbnb, which offers alternative accommodations, and Google’s entry into the travel market, the landscape is becoming more diverse and competitive.
Furthermore, disruptive technologies are also playing a significant role in reshaping the future of OTAs. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) are two key technologies that are revolutionizing the travel industry.
AI-powered chatbots are enhancing customer service and personalization, while VR allows travelers to virtually experience destinations before making a booking. These innovations not only enhance the user experience but also provide opportunities for new players to enter the market.
Potential for further acquisitions
As competition intensifies, there is a possibility of further acquisitions within the OTA industry. Larger players may seek to acquire smaller, innovative companies to expand their offerings and stay ahead of the curve.
This trend has already been observed with Booking.com’s acquisition of companies like Priceline and OpenTable. The consolidation of resources and expertise through acquisitions can lead to improved services and increased market share for the acquiring companies.
It is worth noting that while acquisitions can be beneficial for the companies involved, they can also raise concerns about monopolistic practices and reduced competition. Regulatory bodies play a crucial role in ensuring fair competition and protecting consumer interests in this rapidly evolving industry.
New technologies like AI and VR
As mentioned earlier, AI and VR are poised to transform the travel industry. AI-powered chatbots can provide personalized recommendations, assist with bookings, and offer real-time customer support. VR, on the other hand, enables travelers to virtually explore destinations, hotels, and attractions, providing a more immersive and engaging experience.
These technologies have the potential to improve decision-making, enhance customer satisfaction, and drive innovation in the OTA space.
For example, AI can analyze vast amounts of data to provide personalized travel recommendations based on individual preferences and past behavior. VR can allow travelers to virtually experience hotel rooms, ensuring that their expectations align with reality before making a booking.
These advancements not only benefit travelers but also present opportunities for OTAs to differentiate themselves and gain a competitive edge.
While Kayak and Booking.com compete in the online travel space, they operate as independently owned subsidiaries under Booking Holdings. This allows them to maintain their own brands and business models, while benefiting from shared resources.
With acquisitions common in the OTA world, the ownership structure of these companies can frequently change. But for now, Kayak continues offering its key price comparison services as a distinct platform from Booking.com.